Les Hurdes (Land Without Bread) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Les Hurdes (Land Without Bread) Reviews

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½ August 17, 2015
A classic documentary from surrealist filmmaker Luis Bunuel, that is disturbing and highly interesting, although it feels a bit longer than a 30 minute film should...
July 16, 2014
Luis Bunuel's background in surrealism actually proved resourceful for documentary films. This look at an impoverished Spanish village is unsettling even by today's standards.
June 7, 2014
Land Without Bread is a short documentary showing a small poverty stricken town in Spain. What's nice about this is that it's a new take on what you are normally shown. You often see the poverty side through the years of your own country, and this short gives you the chance to view this in another culture.
There is no sound other than a voice-over describing what is happening on the screen. Whilst hearing the sounds and voices would have been nice, without it makes you pay extra attention to some of the astonishing scenes on show. This is not a documentary showing those suffering but rather how the small community manages to live a normal life with so little. It is extraordinary hearing about how they handle burials.
Whilst the filmmakers describe it as a documentary, some viewers will argue it to be the first ever parody of a documentary. It is easy to see where they are coming from. Some shots are clearly set up including an amusing multi-angle shot of a goat falling down a cliff. The narrator also comes out with lines which are not entirely serious.
Whether you find it amusing or distressing, Land Without Bread manages to keep your attention the entire half an hour.
February 1, 2013
Would never watch it again but it's short and has a few intriguing moments.
December 29, 2012
A short documentary about the misery in a remote region in Spain.
½ December 6, 2012
That's not surrealism, this documentary is a distorted view of reality for propaganda against the fascist regime in Spain.
That said I'd like to remind that I'm against fascism, but I'm against the distortion of reality as well.
The stars I gave are just for the historical value of that document.
December 5, 2012
Les Hurdes 1933 es un documental con voz en off que relata la vida en las Hurdes, en España. Muy fuerte en imágenes y situaciones. Alguna vez Buñuel dijo que este trabajo lo filmó a base de puros Short Ends que tenía guardados.
November 9, 2012
I really start to become a film snob...

Why I'm bringing this up? Well, I just watched a black and white documentary short by great avantgardist Luis Bunuel - in French - without subtitles - in a theater.

Terre sans Pain runs for only about half an hour and its main subject, a grinding poor mountain region in Spain seems not very interesting, but this is a very fine example of what's the essential skill that made Bunuel a star.

TSP is told without any compromise, it starts with this strange and macabre rite in L'Alberca that has newlyweds snap off rooster heads up to the examination of the various types of incest-related malformations in Las Hurdes.

I wouldn't call it surrealistic or even avant-garde, it's pretty straight-forward but you can clearly see Bunuel talent in finding the exact right look for every frame he's filming and the objective and calm tone of the narrator is in stark contrast to the pictures and the pretty leftist messages he conveys.

Visually stunning (well, maybe stunning is not the right word, rather perfectly framed), gory (sounds like fun, doesn't it) and surprisingly emotionally deep, Terre sans Pain is another point of favour for Bunuel.
September 29, 2012
dude frankie i've seen this just yesterday. pennywise's the cretin in it.
August 13, 2012
It was okay. I mean it was well made but because of the time the topic is not as significant as now. It was okay.
January 23, 2012
A documentary about life in a remote, very deprived area of Spain. I watched an English language version and couldn't get over the distaste of the narrator for his subject, but read that this was intended by Buñuel. The hardness of the life lived, not so very long ago is brilliantly portrayed.
December 13, 2011
A document of high dramaticity, coldness and pungency that depicts the existence of the problematic of social inequality since remote times.
August 11, 2011
This documentary was very shocking in its time: in that period, Spanish Republic wanted to bring to the little villages the basic education and services many of them lacked. Then, the documentary showed the isolated region of Hurdes, where the lack of iodine in water made that most of its inhabitants suffered cretinism and subsequent mental handicap. That, together with the poverty of the villages themselves, made Hurdes a dramatic region where to live, with people sick along the streets, and a great delay compared with the rest of the world. As an example of how Spain has changed from those times, help was brought to Hurdes (mainly because of the documentary) and now it is a normally developed region in Spain.
May 23, 2011
Bunuel messes with the documentary - pity about the goat - while others pretend objectvity. Always ahead of his time.
½ April 18, 2011
Land Without Bread (Tierra sin Pan) is excellent little documentary by the legendary director Luis Buñuel about the Spanish region of Las Hurdes where civilization is still a very primitive. The peasants who live in the region don't even have the most basic utilities and skills to farm yet they still are able to live, at least for a while as just about all the residents have diseases like malaria. This was Buñuel's sole documentary (a short) yet this non-fictional film is thematically consistent to the filmmakers other work, as it covers his fascination with insects, his unflinching look at human cruelty, his subtle but clear disgust with the Catholic Church, and moments of dark humor. It's a film that fits very well into the director's canon. Once Franco came into power, many against the dictator embraced it as an attack on him.

One thing that is always questioned however is whether it's even a real documentary or not. There are some parts that are obviously staged, such as: the goat falling off the cliff to its death, the donkey's death due to being stung by so many bees, and how some of the narration contradicts what is being shown on screen. Because the line between what is real and what isn't is so vague, it makes the film all the more complex, especially for being a film that is just under half an hour. Not everything that is shown may be real, but there is no doubt that the events depicted in it do actually happen. But what makes the film all the more powerful is how neither the Catholic Church nor the government even care to try and fix the problems in the region that is just so obvious. I believe that was Buñuel's intent for the film; open the viewerâ(TM)s eyes to the despicableness that these organization do by ignoring the poor. Land Without Bread is a pretty stunning accomplishment; this is highly recommended viewing. 9/10
½ February 19, 2011
brutally narrated documentary of a valley living in poverty which ends up being a satirical and surreal film.
January 24, 2011
Extremely revealing, sad, and informative. Images speak loudly.
December 15, 2010
Probably the first mockumentary and it provides a lot of good, tense laughter.
½ October 24, 2010
Oftentimes, in my film studies, I will explore a brand new path unbeaten in my mental landscape, and just as often I will find that Bunuel was--at one point--already thinking and working on that level, so divergent from the aesthetic category I explored last. Damn it, this man was so ahead of his time.
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